1. He became a successful cyclist during an age when most Americans didn’t know there was a Tour de France. His first Tour win was in front of his own teammate who was trying to break the record five wins (Hinault).
2. He got shot, lost 75 percent of his blood, and still had 30 pellets from the shotgun shell lodged in his body after the surgery (last time I checked anyway). (Click on the photo of his x-ray.)
3. He returned to win the Tour de France again in an epic battle, described by Phil Liggett as his "favorite" Tour de France, capped off by a mere eight-second difference achieved in the final time trial. He used aero bars. He beat out a Parisian in Paris, no less. Heckya.
4. He won the World Championship three times and came in second twice.
5. He very conclusively never did EPO. He’s just way stinkin’ tough.
Okay, granted, he only won the world’s toughest sporting event three times. He drank Coke before and after races, good point. But c’mon folks, the guy had ripped quads, a cheerful smile and nifty sunglasses. And we all know it’s really about the sunglasses anyway.